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Holland 100lb Long Rectangular Swage Block??


Greebe

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Posted (edited)

I was looking at getting a swage block for drifting eyes on axes and hammers. I am leaning towards this one by Holland. My only concern though would be that it would be prone to breaking when used in the middle with a sledge hammer.  What are your guys thoughts?

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Drifting & swaging isn't about gross metal movement it's about fine shape refinement. You need to forge the eye close to finish shape and drift it to final size and shape.

If that stand doesn't make you confident don't buy one, make your own. It'd be easy to weld one up that held the swage block along the sides rather than the ends. A vertical support on each side in the middle would take care of any flex.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks for the reply Frosty.

I agree with what you have said. However, on operations that I have done in the past on other smiths swage blocks, such as forging the shoulder back on a hardie tool, you have to strike quite hard with a heavy sledge to forge it down. This is especially true when forging hardie tools out of H13.

Also, I was thinking of just buying the swage block and building my own stand. They want an arm and leg for that stand.  I suppose if I built a stand with support in the middle unlike their stand, it would be plenty strong.

Is there any disadvantage or advantage to a long rectangular swage block like this vs the more traditional square blocks?

Thanks again.

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Fair enough, I've never set a shoulder on a bottom tool, I suppose sledge hammers are called for. The closest to that kind of action I've done on mine couldn't have broken it if you'd used a wrecking ball for the hammer. My swage stand is 4 guard rail posts. 2 support the block laying flat, the other two are stepped down to hold it on edge. In either position the working height is my comfortable hammering height. 

My block isn't supported 100%, it overhangs a little on all for sides. I can rotate it with a pinch bar and scoot it to expose any through hole to clear air if necessary. With the hole just over an edge and the other couple hundred lbs of "Lancaster pattern" swage block laying flat I can't imagine ANYBODY tipping it or dumping it off. However I've never worked something so long I couldn't do it directly on the stand. If I had really short legs I could use it laying flat on the floor.

Of course there's a disadvantage to using a rectangular swage block like yours. It's probably light enough a strong thief could carry it off. If I caught a thief carrying mine off I wouldn't mess with him till I got my shotgun!

I don't know what mine weighs but I do know it took two strong guys to put it in my pickup to move and we were  near our limits of safely lifting and walking. We passed a pipe through it so we had a good handle and it was one MEAN HEAVY PITB.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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These should demonstrate what I am talking about with forging the shoulder on a hardy tool. You could do this on the anvil, but if you are making a hardy for a different size then a swage block helps. Also the type of beating I have done when forging tools like this makes me worry for my anvil. :rolleyes: Maybe I just need a striking anvil one day. It has been a few years since I have been a striker on a multi man team. It is a load of fun and miss it.

A thief trying to steal my swage block? That sounds like crazy talk. LOL! :D I guess the fellas who live around people might have to worry about that. Out here I could leave it sitting by the road and no one would mess with it. Beside people know me, and if I caught someone trying to steal my swage I would drop it on their head. Mwahaha!!!  However, being able to carry it might be a handy feature in the shop.

 

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, Greebe said:

However, being able to carry it might be a handy feature in the shop.

I have an engine hoist AKA cherry picker that makes lifting and moving heavy things E Z. It's one of the BEST yard sale finds ever. It was nearly brand new for $50. Mrs. determined seller lady wanted to stop Mr. Sad seller man from putting himself in the hospital and was clearing out his shop.  I felt for the guy and can see the day coming for me. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I went ahead and ordered it, so I will let you know what I think when it arrives.

I talked with one of the guys from Holland, and he said I would not have to worry about breaking it. I asked if I could break it would they stand behind it, he said yes but he still said he didn't think I could break it. I think I have been offered a challenge. LOL

I bought a 2 ton engine hoist about 12 years ago and it has been a great use around the shop as well. I have move my metal lathe and mill with it several times. However I almost crushed it this past year trying to pick up a new 9x49 Bridgeport Mill off my trailer. Not a smart move. It bent the top arm plates and leaned sideways almost dropping the thing on me. I was fortunate to be able to shore it up and have a friend with a large track loader pick it up and move it for me. Other than that near fiasco, it has been great. I also have a 5000lb pallet jack which has been really useful.

 

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2 hours ago, Greebe said:

I asked if I could break it would they stand behind it

A more pointed question would be, Would they stand under it?

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I purchased a used swage block from another smith with a section that had been broken off.  It probably used to be rectangular, though not as long as the Holland block, and is now roughly square.  I have no idea how it was broken, but the key thing is that I'm pretty sure it is cast iron, not cast steel or ductile iron.  I believe the Holland blocks are ductile iron, so are likely more resilient.

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Heh, heh, heh. I've asked more from my engine hoist than it has to give too. I offloaded my 50lb. Little Giant with it but not JUST the engine hoist. I slid it to the back of my trailer with two hand trucks under the head and the engine hoist on the base. Drug it with a cable come along and chain fall from the arch beam in the shop roof. When I got the base off the end of the trailer I used the engine hoist and chain fall to tip it up, the come along was the hold back so it didn't go all the way over.

I made my poor engine hoist flex more than recommended because until I got the hammer close to the rear of the trailer I had to extend the lift arm. I was afraid to put too much lift on the building frame until it was almost directly under the arch. I'd rather kill an engine hoist than bend my shop!

I promised myself if I needed to unload that much again I'd rent a backhoe for a hour. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Probably about the same height as your anvil; perhaps a bit lower if you're anticipating a lot of sledgehammer work. An oaken frame would be very cool, especially if you assemble it with mortise-and-tenon joints like a timber framed barn. An A-frame about the same dimensions as the Holland stand would probably work well.

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Oak with some forged iron hardware would be in keeping, even if it were decorative. Maybe a ready rack for top swages or fuller to make curves like a gouge. 

A good stand makes a happy tool.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Maybe make it from 12/4 oak if I can find any with they way things are right now. I have some Ash that came down a little while back in the woods. Maybe I could rig up a chainsaw mill and make my own lumber for it.

I drew this the other night. Basically the swage could be laid flat in a rabbet cut into the horizontal beams, and it could also be turned the other way and dropped into the space in between the horizontal beams to use the edges of the swage. Some iron hardware like Frosty recommended would make it more stable as well as ascetically pleasing.

IMG_6514.JPG.3fc30e8b1fd44ec4f2df2927bd9ed2a9.JPG

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That should be solid. It'd be indestructible to human power if you made the beams wider, say 4" X 10" and let into the end posts till the swage block was almost touching the end posts. A little gap for a pry bar to make it easier to lift from the rabbit and turn.

I tend to get carried away listening to my overbuild it! voices. I think your drawing will work a treat no matter how hard you beat on it.

Frosty The Lucky.

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One advantage of the stand from Holland is that since the block is only supported on the ends, you don't have any rails limiting access to its sides. If you've got some 12/4 planks, I'd recommend an A-frame stand, something along these lines:

2BCD1F84-BE73-4C97-B76B-BE737EF814B0.jpeg

The two inner planks could be notched to take the block either flat or on edge:

2D3528A0-EE65-4029-AF8E-BDF08C3E8497.jpeg

while the outer planks would keep the block from sliding lengthwise.

Once the two planks that make up each end are bolted together (in as many places as you like, but the more the merrier), they'd be incredibly rigid. I've sketched flat planks as braces on the sides, but you could just as easily forge some hefty X-shaped brackets if you prefer.

 

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Posted (edited)

Nice I like.  That would be fairly straight forward to build. Not sure when it will arrive, but I should get on finding the wood I will need.  Today I am waiting on my hydraulic press. Then a new 240lb anvil, and this swage block sometime in the next week. I am totally retooling to take my blacksmithing more seriously. Feel a little stressed at all the money I have spent in the last week, but money will come and go and tools will be with me a long time.

 

EDIT: Just got a call from the trucking company and my press is an hour out. Whoo hoo!

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Along with that your "investments" will appreciate in the future, if history has any thing to say about that. I paid $700 US dollars for my Star power hammer Nov. 11, 2002 the only thing I did for it was pour new babbitt main bearings. Since the I have turned down $1000 and $1500 US. for it.

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Very true. Had I bought some of this stuff 10 years ago, it would have cost me half as much. I got the press unloaded and played with it a little. Probably just start a thread on it.

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Greeby, I make them and thank you for posting this. This part is a unique tool. We saw this as an old auction item and could find no history or other photos of it. He had some time on his hands and drew it up, we made the patterns and cast a few. The legs are cast iron, steel rods and the block is ductile. I am guessing we have sold 7 or 8 of them complete, maybe 10 of the blocks without the stand which is about what we expected. I have had good feedback on this as a couple of them have been sold to people we see at shows we attend around the midwest. Friends have sent a couple of photos of stands they have made for the block they bought separately. We have a couple more blocks drawn up that will fit into the stand that will have different features. Greetings to all and thank you for the support of our Holland Anvil project. Cheers! 

After writing this I read the chain again and noticed you ordered the block, we sold 2 this week which surprised us. Can you break it? Anything can be broken. Will you? I highly doubt that will happen. We stand behind all of our products if they are used as intended, to date nothing has been returned and to my knowledge we have one unhappy customer but that is a story for another day. Thank you for buying a Holland! 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for replying to the thread. I am looking forward to getting it. I was just joking about saying it was a challenge to see if I could break it. :D BTW, when do you think it will be headed my way? Thanks!

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